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Posted Thu, 12/13/2012 - 14:39 in Agriculture

They may be cute, but pets are risky holiday gifts

Dr. Lori Parsons, assistant professor and director of the Faculty of Agriculture’s Veterinary Technology program, recommends gift-givers think twice before purchasing animals as Christmas presents.

Key Points:

  • While providing a new home for a companion animal is a wonderful thing, it's still a stressful event for both owner and pet. Bringing a new pet into a calm and comforting environment allows for a more successful transition.

  • Most animals respond best to a regular schedule of exercise, nutrition and rest—they require consistency. Bringing a new animal into a home amid holiday chaos is not a reflection of everyday life. This makes transition difficult for a new pet and the inconsistency can lead to poor behaviour.

  • Behavioural issues are the most common reasons cited for failed adoptions and euthanasia of companion animals.

  • Exotic pets, like reptiles, require specialized housing and nutrition. Additionally, exotic medicine is a speciality area and it may be difficult to find veterinary services in some areas.

  • The number one reason placements of exotic pets are not successful is because families don't always understand the specialized requirements of the animal’s care. When considering an exotic pet, one should fully research the species and speak with a resource expert to learn about its behaviour. Unwanted exotic pets are much more difficult to re-home.

Pull Quotes:

  • "Companion animals can make a wonderful addition to any family who is committed, knowledgeable and willing to devote the time and effort it requires to ensure a successful transition." -- Dr. Lori Parsons, assistant professor, director of the Veterinary Technology program.

  • "A new pet is not just a Christmas commitment but a lifetime commitment to its health and well-being. When children are involved it should be a family discussion and a family commitment. Otherwise, you may end up with an unwanted animal. The novelty not only wears off of toys but pets as well." -- Dr. Lori Parsons, assistant professor, director of the Veterinary Technology program.

Images:

Make sure you think twice before surprising a loved one with a furry friend for Christmas.Dr. Parsons with her dog Lily.
Holly the Cocker Spaniel
Make sure you think twice before surprising a loved one with a furry friend for Christmas.
Photo Credit: Dalhousie University
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Dr. Lori Parsons
Dr. Parsons with her dog Lily.
Photo Credit: Nick Pearce
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Contacts:

  • Nikki Comeau, Communications Officer, Communications and Marketing, 902.494.4189, nikki.comeau@dal.ca

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